Donate to this charity
Total raised so far £1,875
+ est. £368.75
Who are we?
Disability Bowls England (DBE) is the co-ordinating body for bowlers of all ages and abilities with a physical, sensory, learning or memory difficulty. The charitable purposes are in the interests of social welfare, with the object of improving the condition of life of people with disabilities and to facilitate their participation in the sport of bowls. Delivering an England wide co-ordinated programme of activities and events we engage and re-engage specifically with disabled people in the sport of bowls often utilising specialist equipment and mobility aids to encourage participation. For individuals we see an increase in physical & social activity leading to higher self-esteem and improved physical & mental health.
The Bowls Family comprising the Outdoor, Indoor, Crown Green & Short Mat formats, has over 300,000 members and 5,000 affiliated clubs. It is one of a few sports where 3 generations of the same family can play a sport together regardless of ability, gender, or age.
Supporting Bowlers with a disABILITY - Proving Bowls is for Everyone
Bowls is a low impact sport and suitable for a variety of disabled people. Many disabled people have long standing physical and mental health difficulties and often experience further deterioration in their mobility and health with the onset of age. It may be necessary to adjust playing styles, learning how to overcome the obstacles and challenges presented by their individual health challenges and with the use of adaptations and specialist adapted equipment and aids it is possible to have a fulfilling involvement in the sport. Other barriers to participation include financial pressures due to disability restraints, unemployment, retirement, transportation difficulties and lack of suitable & locally accessible playing environments. A good standard of inclusive bowls provision within accessible geographical reach is critical to regular involvement with likeminded people and make friendships for life.
The needs of our members are varied: novice bowlers are perceived to lack confidence, experience anxiety and isolation; established bowlers seek coaching help to develop & progress their skills, but all require opportunities to participate and compete at levels appropriate to their ability. Over the past 12 months we have taken the Bowls equipment and walking aids, on the road and visited many clubs and invited members of the local community and residential care homes with a disability to come along and have a Taster session and try bowls at a local club and have increased our membership by just over 180 new members with local residential homes organising regularly visits back to the clubs to keep their members active.
We also added morel smaller disability regional competitions which gave an opportunity for those who still had the passion to compete. These events provided a covid safe environment which helped raise confidence for members returning to the “new normal” way of life. The Ladies Day held at Charlbury Bowls Club Chipping Norton was a particular success bringing more women into the sport. This and the other events arranged for specific disability groups has proved popular, and has led to an increase in player numbers, volunteers, and helpers.
Craig - I rebuilt my life after Suicide attempt
“I lost both my legs and an arm in a suicide attempt in 2017 and now I am a keen bowler “I was born to play bowls”. Playing bowls really doses help me to keep fit walking up and down the green, they did have a wheelchair at my local club, but I really didn’t fancy that. “The camaraderie from my fellow bowlers was a great help with rebuilding my life and I now play four or five times a week. But of course, being a triple amputee, just holding the bowl proved a difficult procedure in itself at the beginning. I was right-handed so blowing with my left hand was very difficult to start with. However, with a lot of practice, it started to feel normal again, when standing on the mat, I sort of do the splits and bowl between my legs because of my balance.”
In 2021 Craig was selected for the England Para Championships Indoors and Outdoors Championships and represented Bowls England in the Commonwealth Games 2022 preparation test match against Australia at Royal Leamington Spa and his aim are “To do well in county and national DBE and able body bowls events and most of all to be selected for the Commonwealth Games Birmingham 2022. He was selected and Won the Para Bowls Men’s Pairs Bronze Medal with Kieran Rollings (Cerebral Palsy) as part of the most successful Team England Bowls squad ever winning a total of 7 medals.
Craigs story along with similar stories from other members or groups re-enforce why I spend so much of my time developing opportunities to help people with disabilities get into bowls. It is not just a sport; it can in many cases be life changing and lifesaving.
Why are we crowdfunding?
Disability Bowls in England relies heavily on a volunteer workforce and the good nature of the 210 disabled friendly member clubs and private donations, but since the impact of the energy and cost of living crises we now need to crowdfund to delivery our very ambitious and inclusive all year-round programs. The friendly and inclusive nature of our sport helps to improve wellbeing, mental & general health and is often seen as a lifeline to our growing disability bowls family. It is therefore essential that the good work continues.
Showcasing “Ability” not “Disability” made 2022/23 exceptional years for Disability Bowls England and with limited funding & private donations we managed a successful return post covid by increasing our friendly social fixtures and adding more competitions to cater for the full range of disabilities.
England entered and won both the indoor and outdoor Para Home Nations International Championships and helped the Team England Commonwealth Games Squad have the best games ever by winning 7 medals, of which 2 bronze medals came from the para squad. We attended the first Combined World Bowls Championships 2023 in Australia and returned with a Bronze medal for a Mixed Visual Impaired Team.
Our inclusive club players fought hard alongside their able body team members and made it all the way through to the English Indoor Bowls Association and Bowls England national finals which helped showcased how our truly inclusive our sport can be.
2023 was another good year for DBE,
- Grow the membership to 470 whilst working with 210 disability friendly member clubs.
- Travel to nearly all 35 counties to run disability taster and awareness days.
- Select and enter high-performance teams to compete in both the Indoor and Outdoor Para Home Nations, International Test Matches and to support the Learning Disability Team England squad at their annual International Series.
- Support Bowls England in preparation of the Commonwealth Games Para squads since 2002 and World Championships in 2023
- Maintain a full friendly fixtures card, indoor and outdoor, throughout the year.
- Run national competitions throughout the year - with the highlight of playing and showcasing our ability at the English Indoor Bowls Association National Finals in April and Bowls England National Championships in August each year.
- Work with Disability Equipment suppliers to advise and help improve specialist adapted equipment for use on a bowling green and Indoor facilities.
- Coordinate the International Bowls for the Disabled (IBD) Classification clinics & Visually Impaired sight certification system for all members who wish to be classified.
- Raise the profile of Disability Bowls in England and around the world by showcasing our Ability not Disability as our sport become truly inclusive.
But without further financial support all our hard work by our very dedicated volunteers over the past 40 years will be lost:
It is for the 2024/25 season that we seek Crowdfunding Support and with your help we hope to:-
• Provide a comprehensive friendly fixture and competitions schedule in addition to running more “Taster Days” and “Disability Awareness Workshops” across the English 35 counties.
• Continue the work with grass root players as well as delivering teams to compete on the World and International Disability stage.
• Recruit and train more coaches & volunteers on disability bowls especially for our learning Disabilities and visual impaired groups.
How we’ll spend the money raised
The money raised during this period will be divided equally between:
Grass roots development.
• Increase & retain playing membership across all levels of disabilities.
• Increase the number of Disabled friendly clubs.
- Increase the number of Taster days and disability awareness workshops
- Continue to work on improving Disability bowls Equipment and walking aids
- Provide extra support and training for disability Coaches, volunteers, and regional ambassador
Learning Disabilities members development.
- Recruit and support a volunteer work force comprising helpers, coaches, ambassadors & fund raisers.
- Increase the number Open and Learning Disabilities events across the different Learning spectrum.
- Provide Specialist support & training for the Learning Disabilities group of players and member clubs.
International Teams coaching and support.
- Build on the success of 2022/23 indoor & outdoor season on the International & World stage.
- High level Specialist coaching for the different classification’s groups.
- Competitive training camps & team building exercises.
- Invest in Physio and sports science support.
How you can play your part
There are four simple ways to help us reach our target, and make this project a reality.
1. Make a pledge. Don’t delay if you’re going to support us because momentum is key to our success!
2. Spread the word. Share our project on your social media pages and tell the world to get behind us! The more people we reach, the more support we will get.
3. Offer rewards. Get involved if you are a local business by donating things we can offer to our supporters. We will give you a shout out!
4. If you want to run your own fundraiser to support us, maybe a sponsored activity or similar, use the 'contact project' button at the top of our page to let us know. Setting up your own page only takes a few minutes and you won’t need any bank details. Just a fun idea!